August 2006

Vancouver, B.C. - When I picked up my copy of Miriam Toews's book "summer of my amazing luck" I was ready to be "[seduced by] her tenderness, astute observation, and piquant humour", as described in the back cover quote from the Toronto Star. And initially the humour and the lyrical tone of her prose aroused my interest and sympathy for both Lucy, the narrator of the story, and her rebellious friend and mentor, Lish.

Vancouver, B.C. Contrary to many in my Sixties Generation cohort I can say with absolute veracity that "I did not inhale". But that was because I did not ever smoke - cigarettes, pot or any other vile substances that coat delicate alveolar membranes with a miscellany of poisons. As for any other "hard" drugs, I never wanted to (and even more today don't want to) let them loose on my neurons.

With the conference, my reason for visiting Chicago, successfully concluded, I have the weekend to explore the city and get a further taste of the variety of theatre experiences Chicago has to offer. After reading the Billington article, my curiosity is at an all time high. Is the Chicago theatre scene really that great? His piece was written two years ago -- have things changed since then?

VANCOUVER, B.C. - I remember with absolute clarity the most emotional moment I have ever experienced in the theatre. It was in the 2001 Vancouver Playhouse production of Margaret Edson's stunning play. Joy Coghill, played E.M. Ashford, 80 year old Professor Emerita of English Literature and Seana McKenna played Vivian Bearing, once Ashford's most brilliant student, now a 60 year old Professor of Seventeenth Century Poetry, totally dedicated to her work, socially isolated, and terminally ill with ovarian cancer.

Who among us has never been brought up sharply by something we have just blurted out, and thought to ourselves "where on earth did that come from? That just wasn't me speaking!" I know that within my psyche lives many different I entities; the mother-me, the teacher-me, the intellectual-me, the-romantic me, as well as a few entities that perhaps I don't like too much (whose identities I'll keep to myself for now).

CHICAGO, IL. Steppenwolf is arguably one of the best known independent theatre companies in Chicago so I was very excited to obtain tickets to their current production. "The Unmentionables" is a new play by Bruce Norris, who has had four previous plays commissioned and produced by this company.

CHICAGO, IL. Although The Second City has clubs in other major cities including Toronto (the second oldest venue, running since 1973), Chicago was where it all started in the early 1950s. The list of notable alumni of the Chicago Second City troupe is a who's who of comedy, theatre and film so how could I leave Chicago without catching the newest show at the Second City Mainstage Theatre?